Jan. 25, 2019

Capitol Connection is your weekly report from KAC's Director of Government Relations Adrienne Olejnik on happenings at the Statehouse and issues affecting Kansas children and families. For more updates, like KAC on  Facebook  and follow us on Twitter .

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On the ground at the Statehouse

Kansas Legislature or college course?

The first two weeks of committee meetings have sometimes felt like both!  It's been a real opportunity for legislators, advocates, and citizens to learn about a wide range of topics through numerous informational hearings.

Bills are being introduced and assigned to committees, but few hearings about them have taken place. Several bills have been introduced on which KAC will be submitting testimony, and I will keep you informed about those each week.
Before we get to issue updates, I want to congratulate our President and CEO Annie McKay for her appointment to the Governor's Council on Education. The group will work to find ways to improve education outcomes in Kansas and provide opportunities for our most precious natural resource -- our kids! 

Gov. Laura Kelly (seated) signs an executive order establishing the Governor's Council on Education. KAC President and CEO Annie McKay is fourth from left.

KAC is watching

A special committee, the Senate Select Committee on Federal Tax Code Implementation, was created by Senate President Susan Wagle with the sole purpose of moving forward legislation related to the new federal tax law and Kansas conformity. The Select Committee is the same make-up as the Senate Assessment and Taxation with the substitution of Senate President Wagle as chair instead of Sen. Caryn Tyson. Hearings and action on   SB22, which would revamp Kansas tax law again, are scheduled for next week.

KAC and our Kansas Center for Economic Growth project are extremely concerned about this legislation, which would take Kansas back to the bad old days of tax experiments and uncertain fiscal notes. You will be hearing more from us about this in days to come.
The House Children and Seniors Committee heard multiple days of testimony on the Child Welfare System Task Force working groups reports in preparation for addressing those recommendations. Interim Secretary of DCF and KDADS Laura Howard introduced herself to the committee Thursday and shared her priorities of increasing attention to prevention services and working across agencies in a spirit of strong collaboration.
I attended the Rural Revitalization Committee on Tuesday and heard the presentation from Ron Wilson of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University. He shared a robust presentation about rural demographics, which raised thoughtful questions from the committee on how to address the challenges that face rural Kansans. KAC is also interested in the unique needs of kids and their families in rural Kansas, needs reflected in our policy priorities of working to improve child care and infant and maternal health.

Just for fun

I am a late-adopter of wearing a Fitbit, but I bought one just in time for the legislative session. For someone who like numbers and data, it's a great way to confirm how busy my day was. Last workweek I recorded 59,968 steps.

I collected fewer steps this week after a holiday and a snow day, and I look forward to challenging myself next week to climb those Capitol stairs (whether in heels or not) .